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Tony Romo has reached his Gary Cooper moment

By Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Published: December 30, 2012

Romo has yet to throw a pass tonight and already plenty of reasons have been offered about why he will lose, even if he passes for 400 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

His team is on the road against a club that has won six straight.

His team is the underdog — some Vegas sports books have the Redskins as much as 3 1/2-point favorites.

His defense is a collection of spares, as the regulars will be watching on TV while they nurse their ouchies.

His offensive line is game, a bit overmatched and at best wildly erratic. The only thing that has saved this line from looking worse is Romo's ability to move.

“If your team is good enough, you can go win these games,” Romo told reporters last week.

The truth is his team may not be good enough, and that is not his fault.

The rub has always been his team has never been good enough to be better than close.

Not at Burlington, where the Elks never did reach a state finals game in his career.

Not at Eastern Illinois, where the Panthers never did win a playoff game in his career.

Not in Dallas, where the Cowboys are 1-3 under Romo in the playoffs.

Of course, these records are not all his fault, but he is the constant variable.

Romo deserves credit for putting these teams in a position to even have a chance.

But was Romo to blame for these teams losing their most important games? Similar things were once said of Peyton Manning from his days with Tennessee to his days with the Colts. It didn't change until he beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in the 2006 AFC Championship Game.

No one ever said the NFL was fair, as Romo is well aware.

Romo may not care about perceptions, but he does care about winning. The Cowboys have to win for the perception to change that Romo is always going to be just slightly not good enough.

And for the Cowboys to win Sunday night, Tony Romo has to be the best player on the field.

Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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